Big news today.
Nope, it's not a baby. Sorry!
It's something equally as amazing and life changing... Next Monday, April 30th, I will be going to the hospital in Oakland for part 1 of 2 in Project: Violet Walks Again.
When I was younger, I used to wear a prosthetic leg and walk around like you and he and she. Dustin didn't even know that I had a "fake leg" until I told him, and he thought that I was joking at first. I wore a fake leg from the time that my leg was amputated in November of 1995 until right after my first dose of my second go-around with chemo in 2005. After my treatment, my body was too swollen, so I kept it off most of the time. After I healed from my lung removal in August of that year and finished chemo in April of the next, I wore my leg again. The fit was terrible, but I toughed it out for the next few years and eventually needed to use a crutch as a support. I was in constant pain and despite many (half-assed?) attempts on my prosthesis' part, the comfort never came back. The end of my limb where the surgeon had removed the lower part of my leg had grown long over the years. Like most people, how tall you were at age 11 is much different from where you stand at age 25. After the cancer came back for the third time in 2008 and I eventually overcame that terrible time in my life, I said "screw it," and just decided to use a wheelchair. I was alive and was comfortable being in a wheelchair, both mentally and physically. I once had a guy say that he didn't know that chicks in wheelchairs could be hot until he met me. Boo-yeah!
I put the idea of getting surgery out of my mind, despite many attempts of persuasion by a few of those around me. It wasn't worth the risk of dying on the table just to walk. I was okay with being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and even liked how... truthful it felt going out into public obviously missing a leg. Obviously handicapped and in a wheelchair. There was no staring with looks of "why is she limping?" or "What's wrong with her?" It's easy. You see I'm in a chair, look at my legs, notice one of them is missing and then look away quickly before I notice that you're staring at me. I always notice. It doesn't bother me, though. I like displaying my truth.
Well, after the many pushy "Just get a leg," "Just have the surgery," and "Don't be so selfish - do it for your baby," comments were stifled with teary explosions, I had some quiet. Some peace in my head. No longer did I turn my head against the thought of surgery (because I'm stubborn and don't like having anything pushed on me over and over again). I was free to do my own thinking. Make my own choice. Own the decision. And I did. I made the decision to walk again and it was 100% mine. I am doing it for nobody but myself and my child(ren), but I know that Roman and any future babies we have would love me even I had no legs and HAD to be in a wheelchair. This is mine and I've been feeling very empowered and proud of myself lately.
I've been going to doctor appointments, making plans about my future prosthetic leg and talking with surgeons for a little over two months now and we have a plan.
I have two things that need attention in order for me to walk again. The first is a medium sized Osteochondroma, which is a fancy name for a NON-CANCEROUS bone tumor that people sometimes develop towards the end of long bones. Well, I've had one on my upper fibula ever since I was 11 or so. At first, my pediatric oncologist feared that it was the cancer growing in another spot, but after the scans and fear, it was determined to be harmless. Well, this awesome tumor (hey, anything that's not cancer is awesome!) effects the way that my prosthetic leg will fit since it sits right below my butt-cheek and gets in the way of my weight bearing, leg-wearing bone, the ischium. Plus, it hurts when it rains and gives me little nerve zaps if I sit on ground that's too hard (prosthetic legs are made of rigid material, so my "leg bump," as we call it, needs to go). Plus there is a tiny, less-than-one-percent chance that it could eventually turn into a cancerous tumor, so yeah. It has to go. I won't take any chances with THAT crap again.
The second surgery, which will take place around one month after the first, will be to shorten my little leg. As it stands (har har har, no pun intended), the tip of my limb looks a bit like the tip of your elbow. Skin over pointy bone. In the prosthetic leg wearing world, that is no bueno. Can you imagine having lots of feeling in your elbow and then having to squish it down in a socket (see the picture above, to the right) and put all your body weight on it? It hurts like a mother effer. Constant, stress inducing, blood-pressure raising, make-your-heart-beat-fast-from-the-pain pain.
There is more to it than happiness and dreams of walking, though. This will be the first surgery that I've ever had that wasn't pressing. Wasn't needed to save my life. With these two surgeries, I am risking my life. Risking everything that I've fought so hard to attain. Everything that I hold important and love with all of my soul. Some sick little voice in my head says that if something bad were to happen to me while under then knife, how ironic my death would be. After fighting so long and so hard for a normal life, I'd lose it all in the name of something so luxurious as walking.
I need your help, sweet friends. Send me courage and hope and thoughts of safe surgery. Pray (if you do) for my safety and my Husband who will be waiting in the waiting room for me. Pray for Roman. Oh sweet friends, pray for Roman. I can't even form the words with my finger tips, can't capture what I'm feeling. My sweet boy. He needs his Momma. He needs me. I need to wake up from this surgery and be there for him. See him turn one and see him walk. I need to bring Miss C. (our girl, if we get pregnant with one!) into this world.
I'm so scared and so excited, guys. I'm full of hope and plans and dreams and pure fear. I need you guys behind me. Hold my hand, will you? Pretty please?